Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Basic gluten-free torte

I think I am about to begin a quest for the best gluten-free torte, inspired by The Great British Bake Off. For unknown reasons DSTV is showing series 3 and the masterclass of series 5 at the same time… oh well one can never have too much of Paul Hollywood! Series 3 episode 5 had a challenge on tortes and I thought aha! My interest was peaked by the med student James Morton who made a gluten-free chocolate and passion fruit torte. Trying to find this recipe was a slightly arduous task, and I ended up buying Morton’s book “How Baking Works”on google books as this was the only way to get my hands on it ( but I did not buy his first book “Brilliant Bread” for obvious reasons). This is actually a great book as he explains in detail what to do and why. Before I even got to the chocolate and passion fruit there was a basic gluten-free torte recipe which seemed to be a good place to start. Hence begins the quest for the gluten-free torte!

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 140 grams castor sugar
  • 180 grams ground almonds (or any ground nuts of your choice)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Flaked nuts
  • 250 ml cream and mixed berrries for decorating

Directions

Line the bottom of a 23 cm spring form cake tin with baking paper. Grease the sides heavily with butter.

(Greasing and lining is important as tortes can easily stick).

Separate the eggs.

Whisk the eggs whites until stiff. Then add two tablespoons of sugar and whisk for another few minutes until glossy and smooth.

Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until at least doubled in size and significanly lighter in colour (add the sugar gradually and not all at once).

Add the almonds and salt to the egg yolks and fold together slowly. Make sure the mixture is combined completely.

Add about a third of the whites to the yolk mixture and mix to combine. Then add the rest and fold them in very gently with a metal spoon. Transfer to your lined tin and scatter with flaked or whole nuts.

Preheat overn to 170 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. Bake until a light golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.

I added whipped cream, some mixed berries and grated white chocolate just to give some oomph. The edges take on a rather delicious almost meringue texture, and I must say despite the lack of my essential dark chocolate I would definitely make this again. It looks extremely pretty and reminds me of a British Summer – anyone for Pimms?

And for the record what exactly is a torte? There are various definitions all roughly covering the same points – a rich cake, especially one containing little or no flour, usually made with eggs and ground nuts or bread crumbs. It is not automatically gluten-free, so never presume in a restaurant, and always ask!

 

 

Wild strawberries and vanilla cream

Looking for something simple and light with minimal preparation? then look no further than Mr Jamie Oliver’s strawberries and vanilla cream – (original recipe here).

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Ingredients

4 handfuls wild strawberries

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds scraped out

1 splash sherry vinegar

1 pot crème fraîche

a few small fresh mint leaves

zest of 1 orange

Directions

Pick out the nicest strawberries and set aside. Put the rest in a bowl and add the sugar, half the vanilla seeds and the vinegar. Squash together with the back of a fork and leave to macerate for 10–15 minutes.

Stir the rest of the vanilla seeds into the crème fraîche. To serve, spoon a little vanilla cream in the centre of each bowl, make a well in the middle and spoon in some mushed strawberries. Halve some of the reserved strawberries and sprinkle the lot over the vanilla cream. Scatter over the mint leaves (and orange zest if using) then serve.

I love not only the subtle taste the vanilla gives the crème fraîche but also the beautiful speckling of black that runs through the cream. So simple yet so elegant.

Gluten-free chocolate truffle torte

I have experimented with quite a few gluten-free chocolate tortes/cakes and I am going to share all of them as they are genuinely all fab! Some are completely grain and nut free, some use almond flour and for others I substitute gluten-free biscuits to make a base. This weekend I made a gluten-free torte to take to the Vaal (and yes a little chilly in winter, this is when Ugg boots do come in rather handy) so no baking required in this instance, just a little whizzing and melting really.

This is decadent (as most of my desserts seem to be) and not for the faint-chocolate hearted but I only create these desserts for special occasions or dinner parties. I believe in everything in moderation. I do eat a very strict healthy diet 99.9% of the time so every now and then it’s time to kick off the shoes and have some chocolate!

I found this recipe in and old issue of Food and Home magazine (September 2007 to be exact).

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Ingredients

Base

350g biscotti (replace with gluten free option)

150g butter, melted

5ml ground allspice

Filling

250ml fresh cream

500g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped

Strawberries

250g strawberries

30ml castor sugar

(25ml vermouth per slice – I did not do this step)

To make the base, grind the biscotti/biscuits to coarse crumbs and mix in the butter and allspice. Pat the mixture into a loose bottom tart tin (or cake tin works just as well) and set aside.

For the filling, heat the cream until it comes to a simmer then remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate pieces.

Stir until the chocolate has melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before tipping into the tart tin and letting it set in the fridge overnight.

For the strawberries, wash, trim and quarter them. Sprinkle the castor sugar over the mixture and set aside in order for the fruit juices to be released, at least 20 minutes.

To serve, cut the tart into slices and serve with the strawberries. (Serve with a shot of vermouth to be poured over by the quests).

I found it best to take the torte out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving to make it easier to slice. One can easily skip the castor sugar and just serve with plain strawberries. In this instance for the biscuit base I used gullón gluten-free cookies with chocolate chips. Manufactured in Spain, these biscuits are also egg and nut free, contain no sugar and use only high oleic sunflower oil. Each biscuit contains 104kj/25kcal.